Poulsbo names its newest top cop

POULSBO — Seven months and nearly $60,000 after beginning the search for a new leader at the Poulsbo Police Department, Poulsbo Mayor Kathryn Quade announced Wednesday night Dennis Swiney has accepted the police chief position.

Swiney previously served as assistant police chief in Visalia, Calif. He will take over the post Nov. 26, relieving Interim Chief Jake Evans, who has served in the capacity since former chief Jeff Doran’s mid-March retirement.

“Although I’m extremely sorry to see Jake leave... I know we’re all looking forward to this permanent hire,” Quade said. “He is ready to move up here, ready to get to work.”

Swiney has worked his way up the ranks at the Visalia Police Department during his 25 years of service. He earned a bachelor’s degree in social business administration from Chadwick University in Alabama, and attended the FBI Academy in Quantico, Va.

Quade said Swiney’s background check was successfully completed. In July, a conditional offer of employment was extended to a different candidate, but was later withdrawn after a background check resulted in unsavory findings. The candidate and reasons for the offer withdrawal were not named.

The city began its search with 44 chief hopefuls found by Bellevue search firm Prothman Co. The other two final candidates serve at police departments in Redmond and Medina. Quade said there were no local applicants for the job.

The city set aside an original $24,000 to find a new chief, and later supplemented a little over $12,000 to that amount for travel costs, moving expenses and consultant fees. Along with the nearly $23,000 alloted to continue paying Evans’ $70/hour wages — an augment to the $45,000 first set aside — the city was nearing the $60,000 expense mark for the project in August when the first offer of employment was retracted. Though Quade said the extended search would cost a little more, she expressed the importance of finding a truly suitable candidate, which she now believes the city has.

“I just am delighted of how eminently qualified he is,” added councilwoman Connie Lord of Swiney, who also boasts service experience in management, field training, swat school and tactical commands.

Councilman Dale Rudolph agreed.

“There is no question, this is who we want,” he said.

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